The Official Overwatch Twitter just gave us our first look at the 30th hero, the combat medic Baptiste.
Mobilize alongside the combat medic who made the shrewd decision to make the world a better place, one bandage… or bullet at a time: Baptiste pic.twitter.com/qmAO8EqxLM
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) February 26, 2019
We’d received several cryptic clues before this, most notably a tweet discussing hacked Talon documents that were later shown during a random Overwatch League intermission. In the files, a Talon hit squad discusses chasing down a rogue field medic. That medic, named Jean-Baptiste Augustin, had apparently grown disillusioned with their ideology. Baptiste’s melancholy tone in his origin video shows that he struggles with several decisions he made in the past. Honestly, I first considered Baptiste himself a red herring. Blizzard has a history of teasing us with larger-than-life focal characters in the teasers, like Emre Sarioglu for Brigitte, or Junker Queen in the Wrecking Ball release. But this time, Blizzard’s hints were right on the money.
There is no official word on how he actually plays as a class. Luckily, Blizzard historically releases such things very soon after the initial announcement. Personally, I predict a grenade-oriented hero mostly because of those weapons he’s wielding:
That gun has a revolver-style pipe drum normally used in grenade launchers, like the real-world MGL, and the throwable looks identical to the mini-health kits found all over Overwatch maps. A grenade-based healer would certainly fill a new niche in the roster, and Paladins and Planetside 2 proved it can be done. In high school I used to love grenade-jumping around the map as a medic in Team Fortress Classic and would kill for the chance to do that in Overwatch. But on the other hand, the leaked files called Baptiste a good shot. Grenades aren’t exactly famous for their accuracy, so it could go either way.
There’s another way to predict Baptiste’s possible play styles. We can look at what priorities Blizzard would have while designing him. Traditionally, Blizzard builds new heroes to shake up the current meta. For example, Brigitte countered the “dive meta” where flankers were running amok, and Doomfist countered the barrier-heavy meta that was turning ladder into a slogfest. Right now, 3v3 (nicknamed GOATS after the professional team that popularized it) dominates the professional meta. The 3v3 meta consisting of three healers and three tanks.
It leads to long stalemates where both teams dance around each other building up their Ultimates, until everyone suddenly Ults in a haze of particle effects. It can get so chaotic the audience can’t figure out where to even look. Considering Blizzard has attempted to end GOATS multiple times via nerfing D.Va and Brigitte while buffing DPS classes, this would logically be an obvious priority. But I don’t see how a healer could solve the problem where teams are playing only healers and tanks.
We’ll just have to wait and see what Blizzard has planned with our newest hero. Again, don’t expect to have to wait much longer. The first hero of any year usually spends a month on PTR before hitting live servers in late March.